Wettererkundungsstaffel 5

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Wettererkundungsstaffel 5 (Luftflotte 5)

Unit Code: (1B + ) 1940-42; (D7 + ) 1942-44


Ordered formed o/a 1 May 1940 at Trondheim-Vaernes/C Norway from assets provided by Wekusta 1 Ob.d.L. and Wekusta 26 and, later in September 1940, those of Wetterkette Nord, which had been based at Stavanger-Sola as a component of Wettererkundungsstaffel beim Ob.d.L. Equipped with the Heinkel He 111H. [1]


7.4.40: Wetterkette Nord forming at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel with 3 crews.[2]

15-18.4.40: Kette moved forward to Westerland/Sylt and then to Stavanger-Sola in SW Norway.[3]

8.5.40: arrived at Trondheim-Vaernes and equipped with aircraft on loan from 1.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 122.[4]

10.5.40: listed in official documents as based at Oslo with He 111H’s.[5] This is incorrect. The Kette remained at Trondheim.[6]

24.5.40: in one of its first operational flights, a He 111H borrowed from 1.(F)/122 and flown by a Wetterkette Nord crew crashed into a hill near Narvik, 100%, 5 KIA.[7]

26.5.40: a He 111 H-2 borrowed from 1.(F)/122 and flown by a Wetterkette Nord crew was intercepted by a pair of RAF Gloster Gladiators from the carrier HMS Glorious shot down and crashed into a fjord near Narvik, 100%, crew KIA.[8]

3. 6.40: a Kette He 111H on a weather mission over northern Norway was forced to make an emergency landing on a lake in Sweden where the uninjured crew was interned.[9]

7/40 – 8/40: Wetterkette Nord brought up to Staffel strength in aircraft and crews in preparation for extended weather flights, hopefully as far west as Iceland and the Denmark Strait.[10]

7.9.40: (Lfl.5) - He 111 H-2 dfrom Wekusta 5 damaged landing at Trondheim-Vaernes, 65%.

25.11.40: Trondheim-Vaernes.[11]

20.1.41: (Lfl.5) - He 111 H-5 (1B+CH) force landed in mountains near Trondheim due to engine failure, 100%, Staka Hptm. Zechiel + 1 injured.

3-5.3.41: one of the Staffel's He 111’s was first to spot a large Royal Navy raiding force of 500 commandos aboard 7 destroyers and assault ships entering Vestfjord in the Lofoten Islands (Operation "Claymore"). Although the sighting was immediately reported by the Heinkel crew, the Germans were unable to bring sufficient forces to bear to prevent the raid from being a major success for the British. [12]

31.3.41: He 111 H-3 (1B+DH) made the Staffel’s first successful met reconnaissance flight to the east coast of Greenland, a round-trip of 3,000 km.[13]

16.8.41: (Lfl.5) - Ju 88D-1 severely damaged landing at Fp.Bardufoss/N Norway, 80%, 1 killed and 3 injured.

10/41: Staffel instrumental in setting up a German weather station on Svalbard in the Arctic, code-named Bansö, making many flights to Longyearbyen on Svalbard transporting construction equipment and personnel.[14]

2.11.41: (Lfl.5) - Ju 88D-1 crashed at Fp.Banak/N Norway, 100%, 4 killed.

24.11.41: although the Staffel usually had a few aircraft detached at or operating from airfields in North Norway (mainly Banak), its "home' or permanent based was always at Trondheim-Vaernes from 1940-44.[15]

22.12.41: Ju 88 D-1 (1B+NH) was forced to ditch south of Hitra Is., just west of Trondheim Fjord, on return from a mission due to icing and engine failure, 100%, 3 KIA and 1 survived.[16]

13.1.42: He 111 H-2 (1B+EH) failed to return (FTR), crashing into the sea, 100%, 4 KIA.[17]

9.2.42: He 111 (1B+AH) attacked by enemy aircraft, shot up losing an engine, and forced down at Herdla fighter base, no casualties.[18]

22.2.42 and 1.3.42: supply-dropping flights to Bansö.[19]

4.7.42: Staffel flew its 1,000th mission - a weather recce to Jan Mayen Island.[20]

15.7.42: Ju 88 D-1 (1B+BH) crashed into mountains on Jan Mayen Is., 100%, 4 KIA.

27.6.42: (Lfl.5) - Ju 88D-5 shot down near Bansö on Svalbard Island, 100%, crew safe.

8-9.7.42: weather station Bansö personnel evacuated by Wekusta 5 aircraft.[21]

15.7.42: (Lfl.5) - Ju 88D-1 (1B+BH) failed to return from a weather recce flight to Jan Mayen Is., 100%, Oblt. Werner Köhler + 3 MIA. It was determined later to have crashed on the island in fog.[22]

20-21.7.42: a Staffel Ju 88 D-1 shot up and damaged by enemy AA fire over Barentsburg/36.5 km SW of Longyearbyen on Svalbard as the Allies secured their occupation of the island. The Junkers returned to Banak on one engine.[23]

22-23.7.42: Ju 88 D-5 (1B+CH) hit by ground fire over Longyearbyen causing it to strike a cable and crash, 100%, 4 KIA including Obstlt. Vollrath Wibel who was on special assignment to the Staffel.[24]

9/42 – 11/42: Staffel engaged in establishing automatic weather stations (AWS) on remote locations in the Arctic north of Norway.[25]

31.10.42: Trondheim-Vaernes with 5 Ju 88Ds, 3 Ju 88As and 5 He 11lHs on strength.[26]

22.1.43: Trondheim-Vaernes with 8 Ju 88s and 5 He 111s on strength.[27]

4/43: on or before April 1943 the Staffel detached 3 aircraft and stationed these permanently at Banak/N Norway as Wetterkette Banak/Westa 5.[28]

17.7.43: Staffel took delivery of an Arado Ar 232A twin-engined tactical transport to use in setting up automatic weather stations at several locations on Spitsbergen Is. After a number of successful flights over the next 5 to 6 weeks, Ar 232A-0 (TC+EG) crashed and burned on 26 August just five minutes after taking off from Banak on its way back to Germany for scheduled overhaul. Oblt. Rudolf Schültze, 2 crew members and 20 passengers were all killed in the crash, which was determined to have been due to engine failure, perhaps due to overloading of the aircraft. Oblt. Schültze was at the time the most experienced weather pilot in the Luftwaffe, having made more than 2,000 weather flights before and during the war. Hence, further use of Ar 232 transports to set up automatic weather stations in the Arctic was canceled. [29]

12.9.43: Wetterkette Banak removed from the Staffel and used to form Westa 6 at Banak.[30]

9/43: from September on, almost all of the Staffel's weather flights were flown from Trondheim-Vaernes northwest to the area between Iceland and Jan Mayen Is. and then back to Trondheim. [31]

13.10.43: He 111 H-6 crashed into a hill near Tromsø during a transfer flight from Banak to Trondheim-Vaernes, 100%, 1 man survived.[32]

10.11.43: Westa 5 flew its 2,000th operational flight this date.[33]

13.11.43: (Lfl.5) - Ju 88D-1 (D7+HN) FTR from a flight to Jan Mayen - no details, 100%, 4 KIA.[34]

20.1.44: Trondheim-Vaernes with 5 Ju 88s and 2 He 111s on strength.[35]

22.4.44:; (Lfl.5) = Ju 88D-1 (D7+MN) crashed on the island of Horsvær or into the sea off Horsvær along the coast of Central Norway, 100%, Staka Hptm. Hoese + 3 all killed.[36]

11.6.44: Ju 88 D-1 (D7+FN) FTR from a flight to Jan Mayen due to engine failure, 100%, crew KIA.[37]

30.6.44: Trondheim-Vaernes with 5 Ju 88s and 1 He 111 on strength. [38]

7/44 – 11/44: now plagued by fuel shortages, the frequency of the Staffel’s weather reconnaissance missions were greatly reduced, eventually to 15 a month.[39]

27.8.44: Staffel’s last loss - a Ju 88 D-5 (D7+BN) shot down, no details but probably on its outbound leg from T-Vaernes, 100%, crew KIA.[40]

30.9.44: Trondheim-Vaernes under Fliegerführer 5 with 5 Ju 88s and 1 He 111 on strength.[41]

11/44: Staffel transferred from Trondheim-Vaernes to Trondheim-Lade, handed over all remaining assets to Westa 3, and disbanded (FpN deleted 23 Nov 1944). Wekusta 5 had flown more than 2,500 operational sorties during its 5-year existence.[42]

FpN: Wekusta 5 (L 13189).


Lt. Erwin(?) Zöllner (7/40 - 11/40)

Hptm. Wolfgang Zechiel (11/40 - 2/41)

Maj. Reinhold Oelze (3/41 - c.9/43)

Hptm. Reinhard Hoese (c.9/43 - 4/44) KIA 22.4.44

Hptm. Siegwardt (4/44 - 11/44)

Special Note:

The history of the Luftwaffe Weather Service, this Staffel, all of the other Staffeln, the Wetterflugstellen, the Wetterketten and all other components engaged in meteorological reconnaissance activities are covered in extensive detail in: Kington, John A. & Franz Selinger, WEKUSTA – Luftwaffe Meteorological Reconnaissance Units & Operations 1938-1945, Ottringham/East Yorkshire (U.K.), 2006. Accordingly, rather than repeat what has already been treated in considerable detail, the researcher/reader is encouraged to see this extraordinary study.

© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress, 2022).

(1st Draft 2022)


  1. F.Selinger-Wetterflieger:199; F.Selinger letter 13 Feb 1992; Dierich
  2. Kington/Selinger – WEKUSTA, p.83.
  3. Kington/Selinger – WEKUSTA, p.85.
  4. Kington/Selinger – WEKUSTA, p.85.
  5. Balke-I:406
  6. Kington/Selinger – WEKUSTA, p.85.
  7. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  8. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  9. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  10. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  11. BA-MA via K.Maesel collection
  12. NARA T-312: 1032/4603; Rohwer-Chron:53
  13. Kington/Selinger, p.87.
  14. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  15. T-312:1033/206; PRO ADM/223 OIC/SI reports; K.Maesel-op.cit.
  16. Kington/Selinger, p.93.
  17. Kington/Selinger, p.93.
  18. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  19. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  20. Kington/Selinger, p.99.
  21. Kington/Selinger, p.97.
  22. Kington/Selinger, p.99.
  23. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  24. Kington/Selinger, ibid.
  25. Kington/Selinger, pp.100-106.
  26. K.Maesel-op.cit.
  27. K.Maesel-op.cit.
  28. AirMin Sigint; F.Selinger-Wetterflieger:184
  29. F.Selinger-Wetterflieger: 183-92; LRs; Kington/Selinger, p.111.
  30. F.Selinger-Wetterflieger:183-92
  31. F.Selinger-Wetterflieger:183-92
  32. Kington/Selinger, p.111.
  33. F.Selinger-op.cit.
  34. Kington/Selinger, p.111.
  35. K.Maesel-op.cit.
  36. Kington/Selinger, p.112.
  37. Kington/Selinger, p.112.
  38. K.Maesel-op.cit.
  39. Kington/Selinger, p.112.
  40. Kington/Selinger, p.112.
  41. K.Maesel-op.cit.
  42. K.Maesel-op.cit.; F.Selinger-op.cit.; Kannapin; Kington/Selinger, p.112.

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